Tiger temple

Kanchanaburi Travel Blog

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coming into the mountains
Tuesday was one of the best days of my entire life. I went to Tiger Temple (about 2 and 1/2 hours from Bangkok, near the Burma border.) I was very fortunate that the tour company did not not have a minimum of 2 requirement but a driver picked me up at the apartment at 5am. When we got to the town a tour guide named PanaLee joined us. I had purchased the exclusive early morning tour that takes place for a limited number before the Temple opens to the public at 1 PM. When we arrived there were only 2 other tourists there (a very nice couple from the UK) and we had the whole place to ourselves. First we had to take off our shoes and serve breakfast to the monks.
feeding the 3 to 6 month old cubs
Then we went to where everyone has breakfast and we got to bottle feed the 3 to 6 month old cubs. We were told if there are more people you sometimes have to share the cubs but we could feed as many as we liked. Also had been told there were 6 cubs in the nursery who were only a month old and they couldn't be handled and we probably would not get to see them. However during this breakfast a keeper brought one out and handed it to me to hold and take pics. What an experience! Next we walked the 3 to 6 month olds back to the nursery for playtime and then their baths. Playing with them in their pool and exercise area was just likeplaying with dogs. The other lady even said to me "you forget these are tigers" While there the month old cubs were having their daily baths in a big dishpan.
this baby is only one month old
We then took them and bathed and rinsed the bigger cubs and then gave them chicken (cooked only) to eat from our hands.
Next came photos with big tigers and then got to walk one (by myself!) on a leash to their exercise and show area. More came for a total of 9 tigers there. The 3 of us were in a "cage" during the show but as you can see from the pic the tiger boys were playing with them and the cage was a not very high fenced in area. Watching then splash and play in their canyon area was so cool. Even these played like big dogs.
I was told if I want to I can stay there as a volunteer from a week to a month and they provide housing and food. Very tempting!!!!!
After the Temple we went to an elephant camp. Adorable babies there including one just a week old. I went on the ride and since I was the only rider the mahout jumped off with my camera to take pics and told me to get out of the seat and crawl up and ride on its neck like he does.
walking to the play and exercise area
Fun but hard to hold on haha. He made the dorky hat from leaves so felt I had to put it on : (
But I did feel sorry for the elephants. I didn't see any being hit or abused Their areas were clean and lots of food and the mahouts were taking them to the river for baths.but still must be a dull life.
PanaLee and I are holding a baby monkey in 2 of the photos whose mother was killed recently by a dog. She wants to buy it but the guy who has it wants to keep it.
Lunch was at a gorgeous place overlooking the river. It was by the railroad of death from WWII. After lunch we walked all along the railroad and saw the cave that the Japanese used as a "hospital" for POWs. I didnt go to the war museum but we did go to the Bridge On The River Kwai altho it is not the original one.
bath time

So far I have not cared much for Thailand but this area in the mountains is just beautiful! PanaLee seemed more like a friend than a tour guide. She has invited me to came back and she will pick me up at the train station on her motorbike and we will ride up in the mountains near the Burma border to see the waterfalls. I can't wait to do that!
I know there is a lot of protesting circulating that the tigers are abused and drugged. I wanted to see for myself and I can say they are not drugged and are very healthy and well cared for. A new area is under construction where soon the tigers will no longer have to be caged at night. (they do now because so many other animals also live on the temple grounds.) The tigers actually are tame (as you can see by the photos where I am walking one alone on a leash and petting it.
a cooked chicken treat after the bath
I have seen some photos where people are holding the big ones and they do appear to be unconscious. This is why it is believed they are drugged and I did wonder about this. Online and in their brochures the monks say they are just tame and sleeping in the heat. I have to say I questioned this but I saw proof that they are not drugged, Later we saw 2 small leopards from the nearby big no cages zoo. They were being held for photos and were very active playing with the people and each other. After awhile they both started to nap. At this point PanaLee said Ok now watch this. She picked one up and its head lolled to the side and the feet hung limp and lifeless. She laid it back down and it never woke up. However a short time later both leopards were wide awake and playing again. I admit that I had to see this to believe it that these tame jungle cats can be asleep and not wake up when handled.
I discussed this alot with several keepers at the Temple. They say that the way they handle all the bad stuff circulating is just to let the tourists who come spread the word by mouth what Tiger Temple is really like. I can't say enough about what a fantastic place it is and I am so glad I got to see it especially in this off season and practically having it all to myself. But off season or not there are many tourists in the are and as we drove away the tour buses were already heading in.
I hope everyone enjoys the pics (just a few out of the hundreds I took haha) of these beautiful animals


sUrAbUyA says:
I'm looking forward to seeing the panda photos. A lot of the American zoos have those behind the scene tours - Tampa used to have one where penguins came out for play and photos - which was cancelled right after I heard about it so missed it, but I don't think any that have or had pandas ever did that. We didn't go to Adelaide when I was there but might have if I had known about the pandas. I love all animals but pandas are my favorites (well after my own dogs haha)
Here is a link to the Tiger Temple Tours if you want to look at it for more info
http://www.tigertemplethailand.com/tiger_temple_breakfast_with_monks.html
Posted on: Jul 08, 2010
shirlan says:
Would love to do the Panda thing in China too. We have Panda's in Adelaide zoo and they have behind the scenes tours. I have just booked for my husband to take his daughter on the 19th Sept. I think it would be great but would like to wait and go to China. However, the photos will end up here.
Posted on: Jul 07, 2010
sUrAbUyA says:
I was visiting my friend on the Gold Coast but we did alot of traveling all over. As I remember I only had to pay for one koala photo but it was the first one and so excited to hold one that I didn't care.
Have you ever heard of the Pet A Panda tours to the reserve in China? That is something else I would love to do but very expensive. You can stay there as a volunteer but you have to pay. Now at Tiger Temple you can volunteer and stay for a week up to a month at no charge. It's very tempting.
Posted on: Jul 07, 2010
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coming into the mountains
coming into the mountains
feeding the 3 to 6 month old cubs
feeding the 3 to 6 month old cubs
this baby is only one month old
this baby is only one month old
walking to the play and exercise a…
walking to the play and exercise …
bath time
bath time
a cooked chicken treat after the b…
a cooked chicken treat after the …
Cant believe I am walking a full …
Can't believe I am walking a full…
Just like one of my big dogs!
We …
Just like one of my big dogs! We…
big tigers coming for exercise and…
big tigers coming for exercise an…
Ive seen these in many places for…
I've seen these in many places fo…
an elephant drinking its vitamins …
an elephant drinking its vitamins…
since I was alone the mahout got o…
since I was alone the mahout got …
my guide with a baby monkey whose …
my guide with a baby monkey whose…
the mahout made this dorky hat fro…
the mahout made this dorky hat fr…
this little darling is only one we…
this little darling is only one w…
the railway of death from WWII
the railway of death from WWII
playing with a baby leopard from t…
playing with a baby leopard from …
Bridge on the River Kwai (not the …
Bridge on the River Kwai (not the…
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photo by: wbboy29